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Fall Film Preview

Autumn brings festivals, Oscar bait and animated penguins

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Annie Film
  • Annie, Dec. 19

This fall, Gone Girl, Gone Girl, Gone Girl! But before we get all dark and twisty, let's check into what's happening locally.

The first of the 'Burgh's two long-running festivals to return is the 29th annual Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, now called Reel Q. The fest runs Oct. 10-18, and will offer 14 full-length films. Opening night is Blackbird, with Mo'nique; 52 Tuesdays, about a teen dealing with a trans mom, closes.

Soon after, the 33nd annual Three Rivers Film Festival kicks off. The Filmmakers affair runs from Nov. 7-22. As always, variety is key, with short features, documentaries, indies and international cinema.

The Andy Warhol Museum will screen more Unseen Treasures from the George Eastman House, including restored silent films Tramp Tramp Tramp (Sept. 26), The Unknown (Oct. 10), with Lon Chaney, and Too Much Johnson (Dec. 5).

The Hollywood continues its rep programming, now with newly installed digital projection. The year-long Stanley Kubrick retrospective continues, plus new indies 20,000 Days on Earth (Oct. 3), Housebound (Oct. 18) and Bjork: Biophilia Live (Nov. 6).

Big Eyes Film
  • Big Eyes, Dec. 25

At the city's newest venue, Rowhouse Cinema in Lawrenceville, upcoming theme weeks include: Coen Brothers Week, Robin Williams Tribute, Introduction to French Cinema and two weeks of Halloween programming.

Fall brings two highly anticipated adaptations of popular books. On Oct. 3, it's Gone Girl (Oct. 3), David Fincher tackling Gillian Flynn's bestseller about a marriage that goes very wrong. And on Dec. 5, Reese Witherspoon dons hiking boots and a backpack for Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir.

Two musicals head for the screen: The 1977 Broadway musical Annie gets an update on Dec. 19, starring Quvenzhane Wallis, and Rob Marshall tries his hand at adapting Stephen Sondheim's fairty-tale-ish musical Into the Woods (Dec. 25).

Other reworks include more dystopia for the teens in The Maze Runner (Sept. 19), from James Dashner's novel, and a reboot of TV's The Equalizer (Sept. 26), starring Denzel Washington. Move over, Charlton Heston: Christian Bale is the new Moses, in Exodus: Gods and Kings (Dec. 12). Also opening that day is Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson's 1970s crime caper adapted from Thomas Pynchon's novel.

Fall is also a busy season for biographical films. On Sept. 26, Andre "3000" Benjamin dons a big 'Fro to play legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, in Jimi: All Is By My Side. Eddie Redmayne stars as physicist Stephen Hawking in the bio-pic The Theory of Everything, and Jon Stewart helms Rosewater, the story of a journalist abducted in Iran; both films open Nov. 7. Benedict Cumberbatch steps into the brogues of influential British mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (Nov. 21). And Christmas Day offers three high-profile bio-pics: Selma, in which David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr.; Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, about Olympic star and WWII POW Louis Zamperini; and Big Eyes, Tim Burton's profile of Margaret Keane, famous for her sentimental "big-eye" paintings.

Jimi: All Is By My Side Film
  • Jimi: All Is By My Side, Sept. 26

Gearing up for awards season are several buzzed-about dramas. Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall play sparring father and son in the legal drama The Judge (Oct. 10). Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman (Oct. 17) stars Michael Keaton as an actor weary of playing a winged superhero character. Newly serious actor Matthew McConaughey stars in Christopher Nolan's astronaut drama Interstellar, opening Nov. 7. And on Nov. 14, the docudrama Foxcatcher recounts the bizarre shooting at John du Pont's wrestling camp, and stars Steve Carrell.

Boxtrolls film
  • Boxtrolls, Sept. 26

For laughs, there's This Is Where I Leave You (Sept. 19), the ensemble family-dysfunction comedy headed by Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. On Oct 24, catch cranky Bill Murray as the world's worst babysitter, in St. Vincent. And for geopolitical snickers, Seth Rogen and James Franco plan to assassinate North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, in The Interview (Dec. 25). There are also some comedy sequels no one asked for:  Dumb and Dumber To (Nov. 14), Horrible Bosses 2 (Nov. 26), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Dec. 19) and Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Dec. 25).

The additional material you've been waiting for: The freaky doll from The Conjuring gets a prequel with Annabelle (Oct. 3); the revolt gets real in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (Nov. 21); and the various creatures of Middle Earth finally wrap things up in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (Dec. 17).

Dumb and Dumber To Film
  • Dumb and Dumber To, Nov. 14

Lastly, for the younger set, there's Boxtrolls (Sept. 26), a stop-motion animation about a family of tiny creatures who live beneath the streets. Confounding marquees everywhere is the family comedy Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Oct. 10), with Steve Carrell. The Penguins of Madagascar get their own spin-off (Nov. 26), and the toy bear from the classic British kids' tale gets animated for the big screen in Paddington (Dec. 25).

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